It’s the way things usually work: CFD engineers using numerical simulation to study fluid flow in a reservoir will typically first approach the problem by looking for two main things: what they know, and what they don’t know.
After all, that’s what simulations are for, right?
Well, not so fast. Allow us to explain . . .
Visualization software shows you three things:
1. Visualization software shows you what you know.
Sure, this is important. In order to be effective engineers, we have to use the information we’ve spent so much effort acquiring—of which there’s usually enough to fill a book. Here’s the problem, though: if we were to write that book, it probably wouldn’t sell that many copies. That’s because what we know is often already known by plenty of other people in our fields—and what they really need is the same thing we really need: the unknowns.
2. Visualization software shows you what you don’t know.
And so, we take our simulation analyses to the next step, and here’s where the tool starts to really come in handy: it shows us what we don’t know . . . but do know enough to look for. In other words, when you’ve got a good idea of the anomalies you’re trying to find in your simulations, Tecplot helps you find them.
When you seek the answers to the above two questions, you’re simply being human. Filling in the gaps that we’re already aware of is just a part of the way we typically work—even the way we typically view the world.
And that’s not always a bad thing.
Often, the answers you get by following these steps provide you with more than enough information to do your job proficiently. Chances are, you’ll even get a raise at the end of the year. But real innovation happens outside of these two questions.
That’s right: Almost every technical innovation is born when a human brain ventures into new territory.
That’s when you notice connections you never thought to look for before, between data sets that are seemingly dissimilar, unconnected.
And then, in a flash, it hits you:
3. Visualization software can show you what you don’t know that you don’t know.
We’ve all had those moments at which inspiration strikes us and we have an idea that’s sheer genius. Over the years, we humans have ascribed those moments to the muses, the gods, and a lot more. But actually, there are processes and consultants who can train our minds to have more of those moments. And, for engineers using numerical simulation, there’s even some software that helps.
Tecplot 360 with is one of them.
Chorus is a tool in Tecplot 360 that brings together CFD project results from simulation cases, derived quantities, and plot images into a single environment. This enables engineers to evaluate overall system performance and visually compare tens or even hundreds of simulation cases without writing scripts.
Engineers and scientists can look at the systems they are studying in multiple views in the system. It’s especially useful when looking at system performance in complex geometries. The result is a deeper “a-ha moment” for the engineer than they’ve ever experienced before.
And I think we could all use a few more of those.